Friday, December 24, 2010
HEINLEIN''S ADVICE ON HOW TO BE A DICTATOR
Despite what I told the Senior, my ancestor Grandfather Lazarus, I work hard in governing Secundus. But only in thinking about policy and in judging the work of others. I don't do donkey work; I leave that to professional administrators. Even so, the problems of a planet with more than a billion people can keep a man busy, especially if his intention is to govern as little as possible-as that means he must keep a sharp eye out and his ear tuned for signs that subordinates are doing unnecessary governing. Half my time is used in the negative work of plucking such officious officials and ordering that they never again serve in any public capacity.
Then I usually abolish their jobs, and all jobs subordinate to them.
I have never noticed any harm from such pruning save that parasites whose jobs are eliminated must find some other way to avoid starvation. (They are welcome to starve-better if they do. But they don't.)
The important thing is to spot these malignant growths and remove them while they are small. The more skill a Chairman Pro Tem acquires in this, the more emerging ones he finds, which keeps him busier than ever. Anyone can see a forest fire; skill lies in sniffing the first smoke.
This leaves me too little time for my prime work: thinking about policy. The purpose of my government is never to do good, but simply to refrain from doing evil. This sounds simple but is not.
I have personally some doubts about the "all jobs subordinate to them" though experience shows Heinlein knows what he talks about. However even if half that advice was taken we would be far better off.